The night Craig Bohl was hired, we were driving on snowy roads home from a Christmas concert in Casper.
The hire seemed really good to me, but I checked with the expert, my brother, Scott.
Immediately he texted, “helluva hire.”
The next time I saw Tom Burman, I said, “ if I knew we were going to get him, I wouldn’t have been this panicked for the last six weeks.”
He laughed and said, “me too.”
Craig Bohl is Wyoming. It’s as if being raised in Lincoln and all of his coaching stops along the way, including Fargo, were just practice for the 7220.
I hate the way “fans” treated him on social media. Run instead of pass and the mob mentality takes over behind the cover of a keyboard.
And the teachers and the ranch hands and the miners and the mechanics all of a sudden think they are Nick Saban and Kirby Smart.
I hate that those same chat forums kick people out who unceasingly defend the coach.
But I love that Craig Bohl brought stability in a time of national chaos.
No names on uniforms.
Team above self.
He relentlessly defended players who had tough days.
Remember the punter at Iowa? I do.
Remember untimely penalties, interceptions in the endzone, personal fouls called at the most inopportune times? I do.
But Coach Bohl never placed blame, always deflecting the lack of mental preparation or mistakes back on him.
And remember how awful COVID was?
Coach Bohl hated everything about that, including great players who chose to sit out (allowed by the NCAA) and then ultimately transferred.
But he and his wife, Leia, stepped up and donated $100,000 to the Olympic sports coaches who had their programs suspended.
Fifty years ago, an intense, genuine coach sat in living rooms in Detroit and promised nervous mamas, most of whom couldn’t find Wyoming on a map, that he would take care of their sons.
They would get an education, and learn to fish and snowmobile and appreciate the wonders that Wyoming offered.
More than one of those mamas closed the door and told their sons, “Wyoming is the place for you.”
Craig Bohl did the same.
I hate that he is leaving. But I love that he is doing it on his terms.
He was my guy from that snowy night when we heard the news and will be through time expiring at the Arizona Bowl in three weeks.
He and Leia, the radio DJ, exercise instructor and Yorkie mom, will have a full life. The team of Bohl grandchildren is rapidly expanding. There are steaks to grill and perfectly crafted Manhattans to drink.
And as for Laramie native Tom Burman?
He was smart enough to promote from within the very tight-knit family. No coach search drama this time.
After the Arizona Bowl, it’s Jay Sawvel’s rodeo.
When he called his Mom to tell her he got the job, she said, “well that defense better play damn good in that bowl game.”
The Cowboys will be just fine.
Sally Ann Shurmur was a 43-year veteran of the Casper Star-Tribune. Her column "Chattin' With Sal," was a favorite for Wyomingites everywhere.